Unfortunately, Ned Stark was right… “Winter is coming…” And if many of you are like me and commute to work, then you’re probably worried about the possibility of getting stuck in the snow, sliding off the road, or even getting into an accident! All of these scenarios are possible, and it sure can be scary to think about. The best way to help decrease the fear of wintery commutes is by being prepared; tucked in your trunk should be an emergency kit stocked with roadside goodies galore! Allow me to help put your mind more at an ease…here are a few things I recommend as must-haves for your kit:
- Having extra water and food: You never know if you may get stranded and have to wait a rescue. Even the most well prepared driver won’t enjoy the chilly wait. What to do while you wait you ask? Snack! It’s good to have some items like nuts, granola bars, dried meat, water and even Gatorade in case you’re waiting for an extended period of time to stay nourished… and occupied.
- Warm Clothes and blanket: It’s critically important to stay warm. Have a pair of sweatpants, an extra hoodie/jacket, gloves, hat, boots, and scarf stashed in your emergency kit. If your battery dies you could be without heat until someone comes to your aid. At least with warm clothes and a blanket, you have a better chance of consolidating body heat and keeping warm until help arrives.
- Jumper Cables, Car Jack, and other basic vehicle tools: You may not know much about cars, but someone passing by on the highway just might. If a good samaritan happens to pullover and try to help, at least you’ll have some tools for them to help get you back on the road faster. You could even come to your own rescue and use a smart phone to google how to change a tire and figure it out for yourself!
- Car phone charger or Portable device charger: Your phone is your main resource for finding and getting help so keep it charged! These devices will help you out a very tough spot in case your battery runs out.
- Cardboard or Kitty-Litter/Sand: If your car is stuck in a rut and it’s just too icy for your tires to get you out, sprinkle some kitty-litter in front and behind your tires to build traction. Placing cardboard behind your tires can also help get you out of a sticky situation.
- Toilet Paper: We can ALL agree that this is a must and could be the most priceless item in the kit!
- Flashlight with extra batteries: This is very important! As days are getting shorter night falls much sooner, so it’s good to have a flashlight handy. It will help you see what’s wrong with your car and can even be used as a distress signal to passing cars in an emergency.
- First aid kit: If you are involved in an accident it’s important to try and tend to the wounds as quickly and effectively as possible! Having a first aid kit in the ready and some basic knowledge of how to use the kit’s contents could really help during such stressful moments!
- Small Shovel: Not necessary, but useful none the less. Especially if you slide off the road!
All of these tools can be bought at your local convenience stores for very reasonable prices. For immediate availability… keep these in your back seat. You never know if your trunk will be frozen shut, and no one wants to go outside in subzero temperatures, especially in a storm! It’s also very important that you take extra precautions and get your vehicle serviced regularly and keep your gas tank relatively full. Snow tires do help, but can be a bit pricey…. so if you don’t have them already be sure to drive extra carefully and slowly in icy or slushy weather!
Rumor has it that for us New Yorker’s, this winter is going to be a harsh one, so please bundle up, stay safe and be prepared!